Calories Burned Climbing One Flight of Stairs

Climbing stairs is not only a tough workout, but also a great way to burn calories. The calories burned on a flight of stairs depend on your weight, the number of stairs and how fast you're climbing. In general, you'll burn 5 to 10 calories per minute of stair climbing, or per one flight of stairs.

Climbing stairs is a great way to burn calories.
Credit: iprogressman/iStock/GettyImages

Tips

The calories burned on a flight of stairs will vary based on your weight, the number of stairs in the flight and your climbing pace, but most people burn about 5 to 10 calories per flight. You can get a more accurate estimate of the calories burned walking up and down stairs with a calculator.

Calories Burned in a Flight

The number of stairs in a "flight" varies widely based on the building or structure in which they're located. It could be the set of stairs in between floors in a building, or it could be a long, continuous set of stairs in a stadium or other outdoor structure.

Due to the wide variance in what constitutes a flight, it may be more useful to count the minutes you're climbing rather than steps. You can then estimate your calories burned walking up and down stairs with a calculator, using your own weight to make the calculation. For example, a 150-pound person burns about 272 calories in 30 minutes of stair climbing — or more if you're running the stairs or climbing at a quicker pace.

In time, the calories burned on a flight of stairs will add up to weight loss and can help you achieve and maintain your ideal weight. If you climb just two flights of stairs a day, you can lose up to 6 pounds a year. Increase your stair climbing to six flights a day, and that adds up to nearly 18 pounds lost in a year.

Benefits of Climbing Stairs

The calories you burn are just one benefit of stair climbing. By climbing stairs, you can also meet or exceed the minimum activity guidelines recommended by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Adults should get at least 150 to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise per week, according to the guidelines. If you climb stairs for 30 minutes a day, that adds up to 210 minutes a week — and about 150 to 300 calories.

Climbing stairs will also boost your heart and lung fitness, reduce "bad" LDL cholesterol and increase "good" HDL cholesterol. With lower LDL cholesterol, you decrease your risk of heart attack, stroke and even wrinkles.

As you're climbing stairs, aim for a heart rate that's 80 to 85 percent of your maximum heart rate — the very highest your pulse rate can get. Calculate your maximum heart rate using the following formula:

220 - Your age = Your estimated maximum heart rate

For example, a 45-year-old's maximum heart rate is about 175 beats per minute (220 - 45 = 175). The ideal target rate for this person is roughly between 140 and 149 beats per minute (175 x 0.80 = 140; 175 x 0.85 = 148.75).

Read more: What Are the Health Benefits of Climbing Stairs?

Additional Stair-Climbing Tips

Before climbing stairs, warm up your leg muscles, including the quadriceps, calves and hamstrings. Opt for active stretches such as marching in place or squatting up and down — as opposed to static stretches where you remain still. These stretches will increase blood flow to1/2your leg muscles and prepare you for climbing without fatiguing your muscles.

Fuel up for your workout by eating a light snack of about 200 to 300 calories beforehand — something low in fat and easy to digest, such as plain Greek yogurt with sliced bananas. Also, stay hydrated before, during and after your workout. Drink about 1 or 2 cups of water before climbing, and then about 1/2 to 1 cup for every 15 minutes of exercise.

Read more: What Does Stair Climbing Do for Your Body?

Although climbing stairs will elevate your heart rate considerably, note that walking down stairs also has health benefits. Descending flights of stairs results in eccentric muscle contraction, whereby the muscles are lengthened and strengthened by the load they contract against.

As you walk down stairs, the quadriceps contract eccentrically to support your body with each step. To avoid knee injury, keep a soft bend in your knees — and check with your doctor if you have any health concerns prior to starting a stair-climbing routine.

references & resources
Load Comments
PARTNER & LICENSEE OF THE LIVESTRONG FOUNDATION

Copyright © 2019 Leaf Group Ltd. Use of this web site constitutes acceptance of the LIVESTRONG.COM Terms of Use , Privacy Policy and Copyright Policy . The material appearing on LIVESTRONG.COM is for educational use only. It should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. LIVESTRONG is a registered trademark of the LIVESTRONG Foundation. The LIVESTRONG Foundation and LIVESTRONG.COM do not endorse any of the products or services that are advertised on the web site. Moreover, we do not select every advertiser or advertisement that appears on the web site-many of the advertisements are served by third party advertising companies.